Learning Intentions & Pathway Design

To travel, and communicate/work across cultural/linguistic boundaries to spread the knowledge that people need to overcome the complex economic/political systems that keep us in debt and in fear.  To keep my mind, body and spirit healthy by studying hard, keeping up with martial arts, working on design projects and meditating.  To integrate my passion for social activism with my life-work, and to create abundance for myself in the process.  To create beautiful works of photography and writing, with the goal that my creative works will have a profound effect on the greater collective consciousness, so that we may progress towards a brighter future together.  To create beautiful works of permaculture design ingenuity that will maximize edible yields, create community spaces, and lead The Great Transition by example.  To strive towards matters that are proven to be positive and practical.  To complete the following courses/projects:  The Ecology of Leadership, Urban Permaculture Design Certification, garden (re) design in Carmel and Palo Alto, working at Sunrise Ranch in Colorado, working in the Pacific Northwest, Blue Earth Photography Grant, and planning/funding my capstone year in Latin America.

To be a pioneer and a vanguard in the concurrent social and permaculture revolutions as a bilingual and bisexual white male.  To travel the world studying and teaching, learning and sharing, participating and observing.  To actualize myself as a professional peripatetic teacher/student.  To create beautiful works of photography along with my own creative and non-fiction writing.  To work to improve the knowledge, sustainability and integration of my life, the life of my family, and the life of the greater community around me.  To effect my sphere of influence with the greatest amount of practical and positive impact to be independent from the energy, water, food, belief and waste systems that are imposed upon us.

Ecology of Leadership (EOL):  (http://www.regenerativedesign.org/courses-events/ecology-of-leadership)
A class that meets one weekend per month at the Regenerative Design Institute in Bolinas, CA from October 2011 to February 2012.  In the class we cover:  leadership skills, communication, self-awareness, honest talks with family/friends, ability to manage stress and triggers, conflict resolution, non-violent communication, Accountability/Integrity/Commitment (and how they interact with one another), and the Regenerative Leadership Pattern.  This class has given me lots of self-awareness tools that I can use to interact with others more effectively.  I have discovered amazing new things about myself, and been provided with a safe context under which I can undertake this self discovery.  Using the ‘tree model’ of the self (*see attached diagram), with the soil being the emotional body, I have discovered and began to compost a nugget of shame, which has been an amazing and vitalizing process.  Another fruitful teaching from EOL is to view my triggers as gifts.  ‘Triggers,’ or, actions that make one emotionally charged and upset, are literally viewed as the sources for our self-work.  This learning has led me to become hyper-aware of the areas in which I have lots of potential for growth.  Rather than get upset at others, I am better able to stop my automatic reactions and understand what it is inside of me that is bothersome, and take ownership of my personal feelings.  This is a process that can best be described as practice.  EOL has helped me to realize that I am in the midst of a huge personal growth phase right now after having been depressed for many years (*see OP1A).  Through this course work, I am learning what it means to commit to fully engaging in the following areas: growing with my family, becoming an adult, fulfilling my potential, pursuing higher education, intentional pathway design, creating a sustainable future for myself and my community, lifelong learning, nature connection, garden work and permaculture knowledge, photography, reading, and travel.

Re-evaluation Counseling (RC):   (http://www.rc.org/)
A 4 day long intensive course in Ben Lomond, CA that covered the basics of RC.  In the course we are taught of causes of ‘re-stimulation,’ and made aware of methods of healing: yawning, laughing, resting, and crying.  RC fortified my awareness that I can only effect my own actions, and that that is my primary responsibility and goal of achievement.  RC believes that we are all, deep down inside, an authentic human being that is curious, loving and compassionate.  RC theory goes on to describe that it is our past feelings of hurt, embarrassment, neglect and pain that are kept internal due to our culture’s lack of methods to shake off bad feelings.  These internalized feelings cause us to not act out of true intelligence, meaning that we are not taking each situation as a brand new set of circumstances, because we are sourcing from ‘knowing’ that we will be hurt or mistreated in a certain situation, and thus shutting ourselves off from certain opportunities due to our automatic reactions.  Through sharing our internalized feelings that are ‘holding us back,’ in an unrestrained manner, allowing the self to fully express crying, laughter and yelling, we are healing and releasing, or ‘discharging’ these old feelings, so that we may act out of true intelligence and authenticity.

Martial Arts, Meditation, and Yoga:
I am taking an 8 week long meditation class every monday evening in Palo Alto, CA from January to March.  Class is taught in the tradition of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, or MBSR (http://www.umassmed.edu/cfm/stress/index.aspx).  My mothers teach this class, and also teach self-defense classes at the same studio during the day (http://hirukocenter.com/).  Thus, my practice in meditation and martial arts is also a practice in connecting with my family.  I have a jumprope, which works very well as a lightweight and portable device to get cardiovascular exercise.  Since I am on the road traveling a lot, the jumprope is a very effective form of exercise for me.  I have created my own yoga routine, that combines techniques from various classes that I have taken over the years.  I make sure to utilize the 5 fundamental elements of a complete yoga practice that I learned in a Método de Rose (http://www.metododerose.org/) yoga class in Buenos Aires, Argentina: twist, inversion, strength building, flexibility and breathe.  I also integrate a full-body push up technique from a Golden Dragon Kung Fu class that I took at UC Santa Cruz.  After stretching, I engage in meditations that I learned in Golden Shield Qi Gong in Santa Cruz as well (http://goldenshieldqigong.com/).  When I finally settle down in one place, I am sure to join a martial arts class.  This is one of my favorite ways of keeping in shape, building community, and staying in integrity with myself.

Music, Art and Kinetic Expression:
As part of composting my nugget of shame, I have dedicated myself to being more self expressive.  I am much more willing to dance, sing and show other people my art work now than I ever remember being in the past.  I have asked all of my friends who are good at music to teach me, and I have set up various lessons in different cities to match my peripatetic lifestyle.

Drawing, drafting, painting, electric guitar, keyboard, piano, singing, and dancing are all areas where I am growing.  I have an electric guitar, and would like a keyboard, so that I can practice both together and learn music theory and chord structure in multiple manners.  I would also love to learn my favorite songs so that I can sing them to entertain people.  I am much more savvy in utilizing online tools to find new music.  Because of this, I am expanding my musical tastes, and sponging off of the explosion of new music due to the internet and people’s ability to promote themselves.

Photography was the focus of my individual major at UCSC.  I am currently working on rebuilding/re-designing my online portfolio (www.dblfoto.com), a Blue Earth Photographic grant (*see attached), and finding more photographers online.  I am engaged in experimental photographic processes and stop-motion animation.  I am constantly analyzing photographic magazines and galleries (others and my own work).   I love photography as a form of artistic expression, nature connection, to be in dialogue with the world around me and to be able to share that dialectic with others visually.   I use the camera as self expression, expression of my point of view, and to capture isolated instances of space/time.  My work is influenced by Robert Capa, Ansel Adams, Sebastiåo Salgado, Annie Leibovitz and countless more professional and amateur photographers.  I feel as though the edge I am on is that of “Creative Social Documentation,” when I integrate traveling with photography and writing.

I quit an online advertising job in March of 2010, knowing that I was not acting in integrity with my true self by sitting behind a computer screen for most of my waking life.  Since then, I have discovered and committed myself to the community of permaculture and to ushering in the Great Transition to make human life mutually beneficial with natural ecosystems, rather than deleterious.  I drove across the USA in the summer of 2011.  During my travels, I worked as a farm intern at the Long Hungry Creek Farm near Nashville, Tennessee, and also as an artist in residence at the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, New York.  (*see my OP1a for more information on my life changing decisions.)  Upon returning to California, I got accepted the Masters program in Integrative Ecosocial Design with Gaia University.
The first year of my MSc in Integrative Ecosocial Design began in October 2011 in Bolinas, California at the Regenerative Design Institute (RDI) during the week long orientation with Gaia University.  I am now also enrolled in the 2011-12 Winter Urban Permaculture Design Certification course with the Urban Permaculture Institute of San Francisco.  My project for this course is to redesign the backyard of a private residence to maximize edible yield and apply other permaculture principles.  I am also concurrently enrolled in the Ecology of Leadership program at the RDI.  This leadership class is providing me with invaluable information, guidance and feedback about my self so that I may manifest my fullest potential.  I am continuously working on re-designing and developing my parents’ gardens, in Palo Alto and Carmel Valley, California.  My vision includes peace benches with pizza ovens, spiral and pyramid garden plots, a green house, predator hosting for pest control, compost management, water collection, ecologically generated energy, art and more!  The gradual application of techniques is a process that I am familiarizing myself with.  I have always been somewhat affiliated with the ‘Green Movement,’ but it is indeed a validating and exciting process to become an integrative part of this world-wide network that is committed to social change and sustainability.
I will work at Sunrise Ranch in Loveland, Colorado from March to late May 2012.  I hope to expand my knowledge of living in community, animal/plant care, and sustainable design during my time here, as well as reflect on the winter.  In June 2012 I will drive from Colorado to the San Juan Islands off the coast of Washington.  I plan on visiting the Bullock’s permaculture homestead on Orcas Island, and also to weather proof two houses on Lopez Island.  I will then work with my godfather, Marc Cutler, in his shop in Bellingham, Washington, to develop my ideas about eco-inventions.  Marc is my specialist adviser for engineering and invention design.  While driving down the coast to return to California in late June 2012, I plan on spending time at Tierra Viva, in Ashland, Oregon.  Tierra Viva is the permaculture site where Jeff Huckley and Teryl Chapel work and teach.  Teryl is my skillflex adviser for imagination activation, and he is currently helping me to tap into my inner potential in order to manifest the person that I want to be.  I will then return to California to attend my brother’s wedding in July of 2012.  I will get a job to save money for my capstone year in Latin America.  This part of my plan is too far off to be clear.  I have recently turned in a photography grant (*see attached) for my trip to Latin America, and I am also in touch with Gaia Chile, and many other eco-villages in Latin America.  I hope to continue getting clarity on my plan for my capstone year, as I reflect on the past and discover more about what works for me.
Please keep in mind that my skillflex and specialist advisors, resources and mentors are one-in-the-same.  It is not the case that I think a mentor has no skills to offer, nor that a skillflex adviser could not act as a mentor.  I seek to work closely with people who have proven that they are masterful in their personal areas of craft and expertise, as well as amicable, patient and passionate about sharing their ideas.  I hope that the description around each area of interest (along with the video), will suffice to provide the reader with a thorough understanding of my intentional pathway design for my first year with Gaia University.

Math, Sciences and Physics:
It has occurred to me that being enrolled in a Masters in Science program, I need to improve my knowledge of math, sciences and physics, in order to truly be able to say that I have a Masters level of knowledge in any scientific field.  When I was younger and less engaged in my education, I dropped out of math class after fulfilling the minimum requirement to get into a UC, even though I always excelled and appreciated math.  I am committed to reversing my old ways of ‘selling myself short’ and to grow and learn to my fullest potential.  I am currently reading the Permaculture Designer’s Manual, a textbook on Botany, a workbook on Algebra, and a book on the physics of Color.

Permaculture Designer’s Manual, by Bill Mollison;  Botany: An Introduction to Plant Biology by James D. Mauseth ; Prealgebra: Thinking Like a Mathematician (2nd Edition) by Jim Symons; Science Fiction Literature:  Asimov, Heinlein, Clarke, Orwell etc.

Skillflex Advisers, Allies, Supporters and Resources:
Marc Cutler: Engineering, James Lake: Math and Sciences

Philosophy and Metaphysics:
This area of interest is really up to me to create for myself.  Any book I read or experience that I transcend will inevitably shape my world view.  I seek to be guided by some of the most influential thinkers across any cultural, time and geographic boundaries.  There is no way that I can ever read all of the information that is out there, that is why it is an important decision to read (or not read) the works of certain authors.  I love it when a book is recommended by many people that I respect, and then I finally get a copy.  I love reading!

Authors of interest include:  Friedrich Nietzsche, Slavoj Zizek, Alan Watts, John Dewey, Fritjof Capra, Carlos Castaneda, Laozi, Dalai Lama, I Ching (The Book of Changes, or, El Libro de Mutaciones), Herman Hesse, Buckminster Fuller and many more.

I have the strong desire to choose a 3rd language to learn.  I am considering Japanese, Portuguese, French, Hindi, German or Mandarin.  I have practice texts in a couple of the languages above, and I have gone through the preliminary exercises on web based language learning programs for a few of them also.  My hesitation lies in choosing a place that is accessible, mutually beneficial and a positive growth experience.  For example, with the Spanish language I can fly from California to Mexico for a relatively short and cheap flight, and I can also practice Spanish every day living in California.  It would be much harder for me to access practicing Japanese, or to travel to a Japanese speaking place.  Choosing which third language to focus on will be a strategic decision based on how I can be the most effective in using that language to spread the knowledge of sustainable design for others to replicate.

I have studied Spanish language, literature and culture for over 14 years.  I was certified in SCUBA in Roatan, Honduras, I studied marine ecology in Belize with Eastern Carolina University, I have studied Spanish in Barcelona, Spain and I have taught English in Buenos Aires, Argentina.  I have photographed Guadalajara and Guanajuato México for artistic and personal pleasure (http://www.dblfoto.com/MexicoGallery.html).  I am in a unique position to function as an interlocutor and intermediary between the cultures, places and languages of the Americas.  At UCSC I minored in Spanish linguistics where I studied, literature, culture, language, poetry, short stories, Don Quijote, grammar, syntax and phonology.   I am passionate about Spanish in order to be able to engage in mutual dialogue and social justice in California.  I am applying to volunteer at the Day Workers Center in Mountain View, CA, where I may introduce these workers to permaculture and sustainable techniques.  I plan on completing my capstone year working at the Gaia Chile eco-village.    I use Spanish as a form of self expression, to become a global citizen, to understand 50% of the population of the state in which I live (California), and to be in a dialogue with the 3rd largest language community on the planet.

Skillflex Advisers, Allies, Supporters and Resources:
James Lake: Languages philosophy and metaphysics, Teryl Chapel: Imagination Activation, Patrick Padden: Japanese and spritiuality, Spencer Nielsen:  Spirituality and nature connection.

Writing, Reading & Research:
I engage in at least the following forms of reading and writing:  book reviews, creative writing, science fiction, school assignments, travel writing, blogs, artist reviews, memoir, historical fiction, vignette, poetry, magazine articles, invention ideas, notes to self, using language based design models to intentionally design my school/life path, editing and proof-reading of other’s work, philosophy, biology, permaculture, fiction, non-fiction, history, biographies, math, botany, cultural anthropology, sociology, mechanics, mushrooms, translation, en Español, and classics.  I read and write to gain and transfer knowledge, for relaxation, for self improvement, to elevate consciousness, for school, to connect with nature and the world around me, for education, and for fun!

Skillflex Advisers, Allies, Supporters and Resources:
David Brodell-Lake:  Screenplay writing, storyboard, creative writing and the art of the proposal.  Teryl Chapel:  Imagination activation.  Jon Lucca:  Creative Writing and editing.  Chris Stone, James Lake, Myself, Regenerative Design Institute, and Gaia Guild-members.

Education & Teaching:
I am committed to life-long learning.  I created an individual major at UCSC (*see OP1A).  I have a desire to grow and practice more physics, math and sciences.  I have the desire to choose a 3rd language and begin seriously studying it.  I need to find a suitable book with conversational and advanced Spanish grammar/linguistics in order to practice.  I am concurrently enrolled in 3 separate courses:  Masters in Eco-Social Design at Gaia University, Ecology of Leadership at the Regenerative Design Institute, and an Urban Permaculture Design Certification with the Urban Permaculture Institute in San Francisco.  I have been an educator in many different environments and instances over the years.  I have worked as a summer camp counselor, a teacher’s assistant, a preschool teacher, a babysitter, and a grade school teacher.

Skillflex Advisers, Allies, Supporters and Resources:
Gaia University, Wikipedia, Stanford University, UC Santa Cruz, Patrick Padden:  ‘Edutainment,’ Max and Ryan Fox: social work and pedagogy.

Travel, Writing and Photography:
I enjoy taking lots and lots of pictures, traveling to many places, and writing about all of the experiences that happen when I combine those two elements!  Since 2006, I have moved to a different location once every 8 months.  I traveled across the USA and back in a car in the summer of 2011.  I am working in the SF bay area in winter of 2011-12, Working in Colorado in the spring of 2012, working on Lopez Island, Orcas Island, Bellingham, WA and Vancouver, BC in June of 2012; working in SF Bay area in summer of 2012, and working in Latin America after September 2012.  I also plan on revisiting the photographs of my past travels, along with my 35mm negatives (of which I have a binder full!) in order to write about my adventures in the past, while picking out the best images from my point of view as a younger person.  This exercise will also be a big reflective process for me personally.
While driving across the USA last summer, I read “Travels with Charley: In Search of America” by John Steinbeck.  Steinbeck has always been a huge influence of mine, because I grew up in the same area that he writes so much about, and I have witnessed the fog, people and cypress trees that he describes so vividly.  He also has an amazing ability to combine fiction with non-fiction, which I greatly enjoy.  In his work, ‘A Russian Journal,’ he worked with photographer Robert Capa to create an amazing work of real life integrated with creative writing.  In his work, “Log from the Sea of Cortez,” he created an amazing account of the marine life, and the adventures on the boat, along with renowned intertidal marine biologists, Ed Ricketts.  I am deeply influenced by his passion for revealing the nature of people, culture, and the interconnection between scientists, photographers and fiction.

Skillflex Advisers, Allies, Supporters and Resources:
Myself!  This is one of my most personal affairs, and one of my favorite activities to do!!  Coolworks.com, magazines, newspaper articles, independent booksellers, word-of-mouth, actually doing the work myself, i.e. traveling, taking pictures, and writing about my experiences that go along with the imagery.

Design & Create Abundance:
I am in need of hands on experience with building and design in the following areas:  mushroom cultivation, green house design, rooftop garden design, aquaponics, water collection, graywater system design/installation, bee hives, garden design, permaculture design, compost tea, small scale solar/wind/water generators, eco-construction, tool literacy, capability to build with different materials, ecological landscape design and more!  I need the hands on experience to apply the knowledge that I am currently learning in the classroom and in books.  While I am currently engaged in designing my parent’s gardens, and working on the community garden in San Francisco, I feel as though I can benefit greatly from living on an active community that is in need of implementing projects such as these that I can be a part of (which is why I am going to do just that in the spring!).  I feel as though, during this phase of my masters, I am sponging and absorbing a huge amount of new information.  It will be through my internalization and subsequent digestion of this material that I will discover the most fitting route for me personally.

Inventions:  I need to get serious about my invention ideas.  I will research ways of getting my ideas into the hands of the right people, so that they may be implemented.  I have many ideas written down, and I am unsure as to the best way to go about sharing them, while at the same time protecting my information.  Examples include a net zero laundromat and juice bar, a coffee machine that grows oyster mushrooms, and wind power from the momentum passing over the median of roads.

Paul Staments, “Edible and Medicinal Mushrooms”;  Golden Gate Gardening by Pam Pierce, Permaculture: A Designer’s Manual by Bill Mollison,  Autobiography (and other works) of Nikola Tesla, collected works of Buckminster Fuller and many more that I haven’t heard of yet.

Skillflex Advisers, Allies, Supporters and Resources:
Gabriel Bridges: Mushroom cultivation and greenhouse design, Spencer Nielsen: Nature connection and designing abundance, Melissa Rasmussen: Aquaponics, Marc Cutler: Engineering and Invention Design, Patrick Padden: Plant/animal care, ‘Edutainment’ and permaculture design, Henry Buckholdt: Fine arts

Permaculture is a new explosion of knowledge in my life and I feel like I am sponging off of the immense amount of information that is available online and out in the real world.  After working at a biodynamic farm in Tennesse and at the Omega Institute in the summer of 2011, I am now taking classes at the Regenerative Design Institute, the Urban Permaculture Institute and Gaia University.  I will be working at Sunrise Ranch in Colorado all spring, and I am currently working on re-designing my parent’s yards to be more sustainable.  Ideally, would like to take any house or piece of land, and have the knowledge and resources necessary to have it be completely independent in the realms of: energy, water, food, waste, community and shelter.  Each aspect of that includes lots of specific areas of interest, such as aquaponics, grey water systems, greenhouse design, biogas, compost, ecobuilding etc.

Skillflex Advisers, Allies, Supporters and Resources:
Urban Permaculture Institute, Regenerative Design Institute, Gaia University, ACTerra, SF Permaculture Guild, and Stanford University.

I love connecting with nature, visiting my favorite spots and engaging in my favorite activities, some of which include: Hidden Villa, National/State/Local Parks, camping, mountaineering, snowboarding, SCUBA, gardening, travel to photograph new places, and sit spot for contemplation and nature connection.  I feel like I have a very intuitive connection with nature.  I would like to expand my scientific knowledge of and spiritual connection with nature.

Skillflex Advisers, Allies, Supporters and Resources:
The Regenerative Design Institute, Long Hungry Creek Farm, The Omega Institute, Yellowstone, National/State Parks, Hostels, Couchsurfer.org, Spencer Nielsen, and Hidden Villa.

Tech & Software Utilized in the making of this Output Packet:

-Canon G9 Digital Camera

-Nikon D90 Digital Camera

-Imovie, Itunes and Iphoto

-“Flip” Video Camera

-Grooveshark.com and Grooveshredder Firefox Add-On (music)

-MacBook Pro Laptop PC

-Time spent on video:  30-35 hours

-Time spent on report:  15-18 hours


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons license

OP1B Learning Intentions & Pathway Design by Danimal is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from Danimal.

— How can I best use this free hour?
— Is it best to encounter this problem/issue while I am triggered?  (Is there even really a problem/issue?)  A:  No, it is not best to encounter a perceived issue while I am triggered/upset.  Possible solutions are: taking a walk/run, meditating, stretching, getting fresh air, sit-spot, and/or going out with friends.
— How can I simultaneously be non-judgmental, and make decisions based on what I feel is right/wrong?  (e.g. Know that I don’t know what is ‘right’ or ‘wrong,’ but also tell my 5 year old niece that hitting is ‘wrong’.)
— How can I simultaneously not have expectations/assumptions for others, and also let them know that I feel disrespected due to a broken expectation?  (e.g. When I expect that others will be respectful.)
— How can I stay calm and centered, when I have a million things to do?  One Possible Answer:  I think part of this is built into our physiology as humans.  We have the organs necessary to not feel the spin of the planet, and the huge forces that are moving tons of energy around us on a universal scale every second.


About danblake222

*MSc "Integrative Ecosocial Design" with Gaia University *BA "Ethnography & Photography" with Minor in Spanish Linguistics from UCSC *Artist in Residence at Omega Institute *Handyman, House Painter, Writer, Photographer, Permaculture Designer, Gardener *Photography portfolio at DBLfoto.com

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